To keep tabs on every San Francisco restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past 30 (or so). Bon appétit.
Does money buy happiness? Definitely not.
Does it buy the city’s best sushi? It might.
Five bills (and two week’s notice, at least) will get you an omakase dinner (basically Japanese for "hit me with your best shot") courtesy of the chef at Hashiri.
If you have a friend in Tokyo who knows anything about food, he’s eaten at the original.
Eslewhere this month: the spruced-up return of a Mission favorite (involves gin cocktails) and oysters and dungeness overlooking the ballpark.
Gentlemen with an expense account, may we please direct you to your next fine meal: Sushi Hashiri, sister property to the Tokyo original and shrine to all things seasonal (the name itself references the start of the season, as opposed to the season’s peak or close). The deep-pocketed team behind this venture have brought over many of the original’s key players; the result is an attention to detail as fine as the hand-drawn cherry blossoms on the glassware.
Laszlo reopens after a three-month spa day. It was pretty great when it closed up, and now it’s even better, nodding to its film heritage (as an extension of Foreign Cinema — the same menu is served here) with European film posters and a celluloid menu, from the Slumdog Millionaire (gin and curry leaves) to the 28 Days Later (City of London gin and lemon Tempus Fugit Kina).
Having literally risen from the ashes of the former TBD — which made use of an open-fire cooking technique that ultimately proved problematic — Fénix offers a bright and cheerful take on elevated Mexican, with a bevy of “little tastes” (Mexican-style pickles, jicama with chili and lime) accompanying the larger ones (pork shank, carne asada). Also of note: seasonal sangrias.
If you liked Oenotri, you may, in fact, enjoy the latest offering from chef Curtis Di Fede, even if it represents a big jump, from rustic Italian to Japanese izakaya. Does his stint at Wagamama in London hint at his direction here? We’re guessing it’ll be just like Wagamama, only significantly fancier — so no (obvious reasons) and yes (we like both of them). Look for lunch service, and the much-commented-upon walk-up ice cream window, which kicks off in June.
Opened (nearly) in time for baseball season, ATwater Tavern is a handy space for game day: it’s just across McCovey Cove from the park. It’s a something-for-everyone kind of place, with views of the Bay thrown in. We’ll take the entire raw bar (beginning with the dungeness crab), some Marin Miyagi oysters and the grilled asparagus.